Sunday, May 20, 2012

The X-Files: Existence (8.21)

Existence is cool and showy for the most part, even if the first thirty minutes are essentially more grandiose remakes of the very same scenes depicted last week. There are more chases through underground parking lots, more running up stairwells, more Billy Miles Terminator theatrics (despite his ending up crushed to death in Essence). It's still vacuous entertainment, and there are certainly moments that perk up your interest, but there's little here to justify why this needed to be a two-hour finale.

Scully's birth turns out to be something of an anti-climax. All this lengthy panic over the child, the warnings that her labor must be prevented -- and the baby turns out to be seemingly normal. Even the cluster of super-soldier cult freaks just spin around and flee the scene after seeing the kid. Maybe this was Chris Carter pulling the rug from under us, having the big shocking plot twist be that there actually isn't one? Eh. It remains a little flat, no matter how many biblical metaphors are tossed our way.

One area that works is Krycek's final demise. He's never been a character that's made a ton of sense, particularly as his allegiances seem to change with the wind, but the dark brutality of his murder proves especially powerful. Here's a guy who has been fully weakened, and yet Skinner still shoots him dead, and Mulder doesn't utter a word.

In the end, Existence seems to push a new future for the show, with Mulder and Scully romantically reunited with their baby, and Doggett and Reyes taking control of the X-Files and launching an investigation into Kersh. It's a strong closer, something that really feels finite. But, just like a similar feeling of closure this time last season... there's actually another X-Files year right around the corner. And you can't help but ask where they really have to go from here? Season eight hasn't been terrible, but there's been this mediocre tone running through a lot of it, with the standalones lacking any real punch and the Mulder arc sometimes a little flat. Robert Patrick has been a wonderful addition to the cast, but there's definitely a sense of the show arrogantly denying that its on its last legs. C

Guest stars Nicholas Lea (Alex Krycek); Annabeth Gish (Monica Reyes); Mitch Pileggi (Walter Skinner); James Pickens, Jr. (Alvin Kersh); Kirk B.R. Woller (Gene Crane); Tom Braidwood (Melvin Frohike); Dean Haglund (Ringo Langly); Bruce Harwood (John Fitzgerald Byers); Zachary Ansley (Billy Miles); Austin Tichenor (Dr. James Langenhahn); Tom Martin (Pathology Assistant); Dale Dickey (Game Warden); Adam Baldwin (Knowle Rohrer)
Writer Chris Carter Director Kim Manners

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